Art Journaling Tools That Work

Art journaling inspiration is everywhere. But what if inspiration alone isn’t getting you from idea to the page? That’s where great art journaling tools come in, and we happen to have just the book that will turn your seed of an idea into a full-fledged, artful art journaling page that you’ll love: Amplified Art by Kass Hall.

The subtitle for this book says it all: Dynamic Techniques for High-Impact Pages. Kass really wants your creativity to take off and soar like a jet. So she’s filled this book with ideas for incorporating energetic color, design, patterning, high contrast, printing, lettering, and more. The tools she provides come in the form of imaginative techniques and design principals that you can use in your own artwork, with your own style and favorite materials. Customize these ideas any way you like. This is the kind of book you can pick up and start anywhere, and you’re sure to discover new art journaling tools that will enhance your artwork in amazing ways.

Discover great art journaling tools that will make your art journal pages come alive with color, pattern, and energy in Amplified Art: Dynamic Techniques for High-Impact Pages, by Kass Hall.

Whenever I get in a creative rut, or I just want to mix things up, I know that there will always be something in Amplified Art that will set my wheels turning again. This time I made my own collage papers using stencils, following techniques that start on page 9. Learning new ways with familiar materials is always a great feeling, and this helps me justify my increasing stash of stencils! Working in my large journal, I first amassed a bunch of designs of all different types: flowers, abstract shapes, classic overall patterns, and some fanciful motifs.

Grab your favorite stencils—even if they don’t seem to go together—and use them to create unique designs and patterns.

Starting with a Moroccan design, I traced several of the shapes around the page with pencil, then traced a leafy stem, some flowers, abstract designs, and a couple of birds.

I used a mechanical pencil to trace the shapes, making the lines dark enough to see, but light enough to erase.

Kass encourages you to overlap the stencils as you trace them, which sets up intriguing design possibilities. Which images should pop, and which should recede? How does that change the dynamic of the artwork? Unnecessary lines were erased (I love using a Tombow MONO Zero Eraser for this), and the remaining ones were traced over with a black Sakura Pigma Micron 005 pen. If you’re going to add color to your work you’ll need to use a permanent pen; the nib width is up to you.

When you decide on how the designs will overlap, you suddenly have the beginnings of a dynamic page.

Kass has a great tip for this stage in the process: Scan your design, so you’ll be able to create more collage papers when you need them. Print the design on different types of paper and you can add color and patterns any way you like, whenever you like. More great art journaling tools to have in your wheelhouse.

I chose to add watercolor, shading as I went, and not always staying within the lines. You can go total rainbow shades here, or choose a color palette you like.

Color your design with watercolor, markers, pen, paint—think about the effect you want, and the type of paper you’re working with.

After adding the watercolor the background looked a little too bare, so I grabbed a piece of punchinella and some PanPastels and Gelatos and created some circle patterns here and there.

art journaling tools
Amplify the design with more stencil marks and color.

A white paint pen was perfect for making tiny dots in the flowers and the Moroccan motifs, and gel pens worked for adding doodles. I created some grid marks with a stray piece of plastic needlepoint canvas and some stamping ink and a brush.

art journaling tools
With the art journaling tools in Kass’s book, I felt so confident creating this one-off page that I can now use any way I like!

I scanned the finished page as well, and following a tip from Kass, I used some basic Photoshop filters to change it up a bit. Here’s the artwork with the Smudge Stick filter:

Add a filter to give your scanned artwork a different look.

And here it is with the Mosaic Tiles filter. Fun, right?

Photo editing filters are an easy way to change things up. alter the color palette, add contrast, and see what effects you can achieve.

I printed the artwork with the Smudge Stick filter onto pale pink cardstock, and used part of it as a quick embellishment for a book cover. I cut out a few motifs and glued them on top, added some shadows and book text, and created some black ink splatters to tie the elements together.

art journaling tools
There are countless ways you can use your new collage papers.

All of these great ideas came from just one technique in Amplified Art. There’s so much more in the book to explore, and I’m sure once you get it, it will always be within reach. Don’t miss this opportunity to add this book to your library and have even more art journaling tools at the ready! Also, always remember this (you’ll find it on page 4):

The most important thing of all! (Artwork by Kass Hall)

You can never have enough journaling techniques! Get 10 awesome art journaling tips from top artist/instructors, including great ideas for repurposing household items for art, creating expressive faces, combine doodling and collage, and more!


Art Journaling and Lettering, Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques

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